By: Jefferson Marshall
Former Blue Jays pitching ace Roy Halladay and Expos outfielder Vladimir Guerrero are headed to St. Mary’s, Ont., to be inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.
The former MLB all-stars each spent 15 years in the majors. Halladay, the two-time Cy Young Award winner, posted an impressive career 3.38 ERA. Guerrero, the Dominican-born slugger known for his free-swinging ways terrorized pitchers with 449 career homers.
“This is one of our biggest classes ever, we are bringing in two legends,” said Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame Representative Scott Crawford.
“We look for people who are gracious on and off the field and these two were good people and excellent ball players.”
The man they call “Doc” is a Denver native, but as Halladay noted in an article on the Blue Jay’s MLB website Thursday, he still has love for the place he called home for 11 years.
“[Toronto is] my home away from home,” said the eight-time all-star.
“My oldest son now 16 was born in Toronto and considers himself Canadian, it was a privilege to live and play in Canada for as long as I did.”
The Guerrero family has ties to Canada also, as Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was born in Quebec when his father was playing for the Expos in 1999. The 17-year-old also happens to be a top prospect in the Jays’ farm system.
Guerrero Jr. was acquired by the Jays during the 2015 international signing period when he received a $3.9 million signing bonus which is the second highest in Blue Jays’ franchise history. The teenager was recently ranked #34 in MLB.com’s Top 100 Prospects in the entire majors.
He can only hope he was as beloved as his father. In Montreal, Guerrero Sr. was a fan favorite during his tenure as an Expo and the feeling was mutual.
“[Guerrero] was talking to me the other day and he said that he felt like a ‘normal guy’ when he walked the streets of Montreal,” said Crawford.
“Not only was he the best hitter for the Expos but he was one of the best hitters in baseball at the time.”
Halladay told reporters yesterday that he is open to coming back to baseball in an off-field role. Even though it’s been nearly four years since he’s thrown a pitch, he still is considered a legend in the mind of Blue Jay fans.
“I remember being 12-years-old at my first Blue Jays game and [Halladay] threw a shutout against the Boston Red Sox,” said Sports Blogger Ryan Sukanadan while reminiscing about his favorite Halladay moment.
“Even though he left for the Phillies in 2010, he left behind a great legacy because people are still rocking Halladay jerseys to this day.”
The induction ceremony takes place on June 24th in St. Mary’s. Former Baseball Canada President Ray Carter and Umpire Doug Hudlin will round-out the class of 2017.